Hayden Panettiere, star of the smash US series Heroes, will play the lead in the teen comedy Daydream Nation by first-timer Michael Goldbach.

Kieran Culkin is in final negotiations to star as Panettiere's gormless boyfriend in the project, which is styled as a coming-of-age tale in the vein of Election and Juno. Production is set to begin in the second or third quarter of the year depending on Panettiere's schedule.

Michael Besman will produce alongside Cameron Lamb of Lila 9th Productions, Emily Gerson Saines of Brookside Artist Management and Sam Maydew of The Collective.

The Collective's Shaun Redick is arranging financing and will serve as executive producer. The Collective is representing North American rights and Odyssey Entertainment handles international sales.

'Daydream Nation has the suspense of a thriller, a fresh perspective on a coming-of-age story and a central female character that has both depth and intelligence,' Saines, who is Panettiere's agent, said.

'Michael Goldbach has the ability to tell a story with a unique perspective, ingenuity, and poignancy. We believe he's going to be a major artistic force.'

WMA and Brookside Artist Management represent Panettiere and Culkin while WMA and The Collective represent Goldbach.